More than $300,000 out of a $1.6 million public assistance grant award given to Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico (Pueblo) by the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (New Mexico), a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grantee, for damages from severe storms, flooding and mudslides in September 2013 did not adhere to federal procurement requirement, according to a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General audit report.
“The Pueblo accounted for disaster costs on a project-by-project basis,” the IG’s report stated, adding, “However, the Pueblo did not follow federal procurement standards in awarding five contracts totaling $312,117. As a result, full and open competition did not occur and FEMA has no assurance that small and minority businesses and women’s business enterprises had sufficient opportunities to bid on federally funded work. In some instances, FEMA also has no assurance that costs were reasonable.”
The IG said, “These findings occurred, in part, because the Pueblo believed its procurement policy permitted it to waive bidding requirements by tribal resolution. Further, New Mexico should have done more as FEMA’s grantee to ensure the Pueblo was aware of and complied with federal procurement standards.”
Consequently, the IG recommended that “FEMA should disallow $312,117 as ineligible contract costs and direct New Mexico to work with Pueblo officials to ensure their understanding and compliance with federal procurement standards.”